John O'Sullivan   (Nouvion)   (CD-ROM)          (Symposium 1388)
Item# B0737
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John O'Sullivan   (Nouvion)   (CD-ROM)          (Symposium 1388)
B0737. (O’SULLIVAN) François Nouvion. John O’Sullivan – A Biography. (England) Symposium 1388, CD-ROM, 2011.


“This electronic ‘book’ is exceedingly well researched….one must marvel at the painstaking efforts that have gone into it….Within the chapters, the level of detail, including fully footnoted sources, that accompanies the descriptive prose biography is of as high a standard as I have ever seen in a singer’s biography. The biographical method chosen to present this feast of facts and figures is that of emphasizing, in the main, the chronology of the tenor’s career fleshed out by means of quoting contemporary reviews….These reviews come from direct research into local newspapers or from newspaper clippings still owned by a member of the O’Sullivan family….All round, then, this is a worthy work the possession of which will augment any historical vocal record collection….The author deserves our heartiest congratulations….The illustrations are copious and replete with interest and fascination.”

- John Banks, THE RECORD COLLECTOR, 2011

“O’Sullivan’s reputation and career spread far and wide as he was frequently in demand for roles in the depth and breadth of the operatic genre. He performed in concert and prestigious operatic venues in Europe and far beyond. His qualities as a tenor were viewed, reviewed and extensively commented for their strength of character and his singing ability plus the authenticity he achieved in his operatic roles. He often used the name Sullivan as well as others throughout his professional career.

He was frequently called upon at short notice to perform, or replace the original artists, when he would often travel overnight to head directly to perform at the venues. His career involved protracted absences from his family as his children were growing up. He was an elegant man who preferred to be his own master in life. His wealthy father-in-law helped to sustain the family finances during the periods of ups and downs in the course of the tenor’s international career. He retired in 1943 and was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1953. He died in Paris and was buried in the cemetery of Saint Ouen, France.”


“If the whole literature thing hadn’t worked out for James Joyce, he could probably have fallen back on another of his talents, public relations. He had all the right instincts for such a career, even if the methods were sometimes crude, as his promotion of Cork-born tenor John O’Sullivan illustrates.

Joyce had a weakness for tenors, and Joyce hero-worshipped him. He believed O’Sullivan’s to be ‘the greatest human voice I have ever heard’, compared with which John McCormack’s was ‘insignificant’. It was at its best, Joyce thought, when singing Arnold in Rossini’s WILLIAM TELL, a part so demanding that a French tenor who attempted it once ‘had to go to bed for three weeks after’.

By Joyce’s account, the role had been ‘buried’ for decades, lacking a singer equal to it, until O’Sullivan (sometimes referred to without the O) revived it in 1922.”

- Frank McNally, THE IRISH TIMES, 6 Dec., 2018